It was a stressful year for defensive coordinators in the suddenly points-happy Southeastern Conference. Payday, though, eased the pain quite a bit.
Six of the country’s 13 highest-paid assistant college football coaches are defensive coordinators in the SEC, according to an analysis by USA Today, including South Carolina’s Lorenzo Ward, who was No. 13 on the list with a salary of $655,050 this season.
The five SEC assistants ahead of Ward on the list are Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart ($1.15 million), LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis ($1.12), Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham ($850,000), Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson ($800,000) and Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder ($708,000).
South Carolina’s has the nation’s 20th highest-paid coaching staff with a total payout of $2,744,600 this year.
Ward topped the list followed by wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. ($325,000), offensive line coach and run game coordinator Shawn Elliott ($325,000), special teams coordinator Joe Robinson ($325,000), linebackers coach Kirk Botkin ($225,000), defensive line coach Deke Adams ($225,000), running backs coach Everette Sands ($215,000), defensive backs coach Grady Brown ($180,000) and quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus ($175,000).
The Gamecocks’ upstate rival Clemson has two of the nation’s top seven paid assistants, including offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who was the nation’s highest-paid assistant at $1.3 million this season. Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables earned $800,000.